Monday, April 22, 2013

Safe and Eco-friendly Dog Toys

Dogs love play time, but as an earth-conscious dog owner, it is important for me to think about what I will allow my dogs to play with and what kind of dog toys I will buy for them. I recently wrote an article for Petcentric about strange things my dog plays with and discussed how much my one dog loves to play with recyclables. Now, although that may seem as the perfect Pupcycled way to play, it really isn't safe. My dog could get a plastic cap stuck in his throat or cut himself on a soup can. So, I do occasionally throw water bottles around and let him fetch them because he likes the sound they make, but there are other safe and eco-friendly dog toys out there.

Here is a list of some great earth friendly dog toys:

As you can see from the pictures, Charlie can enjoy water bottles safely tied inside an old cotton sock.

I would love for you to share other ideas you have in the comments section below!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Preparing for a Dog Walk or Race

In a few weeks we will be taking our black lab mix to a dog walk in Pittsburgh. I am excited to try something like this for the first time. Before signing up for this event, there were a few things I took into consideration:

  • How well does my dog walk on a lease?
  • How will I clean up after my dog all day long?
  • How well does my dog get along with strange dogs she doesn't know?
  • How well does my dog get along with people she doesn't know?
  • Is my dog up to date on all her shots?
  • How far can my dog walk without taking a break or getting worn out?
  • How will I give my dog water during the day?
  • How will my dog do in the long car ride to get to and from the event?
  • How well does my dog do with large crowds?
Preparing for a dog walk or race needs to start happening at least a month in advance. The walk my dog will be doing is fairly short and simple. My dog goes on long walks and up to two mile runs with me at least once a week, so she is physically prepared for this simple walk. My dog loves people and is good with other dogs, but I am still going to take her to some soccer games the next few weekends to get her around other dogs and people before this event. If you have a dog park or dog play groups in your area that might be something to look into doing before a dog walk or race. 

Not all dogs will do well at a dog walk or race, so you definitely should think ahead and try some things out before making a decision. Our other dog, Charlie, is very friendly and gets along well with people and kids, but not always with other dogs. He is also very protective of our black lab, Sophie. We decided to have someone dog sit him for the day instead of taking him with to participate on this walk. Charlie is only two years old, so as he gets older and maybe shows signs of getting along better with other dogs, we will take him to a dog walk, but for now, we feel better about just taking Sophie on this adventure.

I will be using eco-friendly dog waste bags and my new upcycled dog treat and waste bag holder on the day of the walk. I also plan to order some type of travel water bowl. I like the look and size of the Popware bowl. The Popware bowl is BPA free and reusable, so it is a more eco-friendly option than some other things, but I think it would still take a really long time to decompose in the landfill when it does get thrown away, so it is a better option than other things, but maybe not the BEST option. The best option might be from Olive, it is a reusable and recyclable and BPA free water bottle bowl in one. I have to think a bit on which one I will actually end up buying, but I am glad there are great (and reasonably priced) products out there for those dog owners, like myself, that want to have a greener lifestyle for our pets. 

Be sure to check back to see pictures of the walk and hear how it went!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Travel Size Upcycled Dog Treat/Doggie Doo Holder

Do you have some old purses, bags, jeans, or pants that no longer work for you or have ripped zippers or stains? If so, consider using parts of them to make upcycled travel size dog treat or doggie doo bag holders. Below are three examples with directions. I only used materials that were 100% cotton (eco-friendly) and parts that could be recycled.

Puppy Treat Holder
This one is great if you have a puppy that you are training and would like to have some very small treats on hand. I used the cellphone holder part of a purse and the strap. It came off of a jean purse that had a ripped zipper and would have normally been thrown out. It was 100% cotton so it would have eventually decomposed, but being able to salvage some of it and use it longer is what upcycling is all about! I also used an old baby shirt with puppy paw prints on it to make it look more like it is for a dog.  In addition to a cellphone holder from an old purse, you will need liquid stitch and puffy paint (optional). You will need to cut the shirt and adhere it to the cellphone holder using liquid stitch. be sure to fold over all cut edges for a nice finish!

treat holder hanging on the door

front of holder with puffy paint writing
back of holder covered in paw print fabric
 from an old baby  shirt

Treat Holder for Large Dogs
This treat holder was made from an Eddie Bauer bag that came with a small gift set and a pocket form a pair of jeans that had hold. I again used liquid stitch to adhere the pocket to the bag and I used puffy paint to decorate. You could actually use a small recycled peanut butter jar to put the treats in and then put that inside this bag OR just put the treat right into the bag. The drawstring makes it easy to put around your wrist. So many little gifts come with these drawstring type bags that they are easy to find and most people just end up throwing them away. The jean pocket is a nice addition because you can slip a few doggie doo bags in there. (Be sure to use the biodegradable eco-friendly kind)!
drawstring bag from gift set

jean pocket cut from jeans
(used entire pocket, front and back)

finished product all glued together

Double Pocket Treat Holder for the Wrist
This one is made from two cargo pant pockets. If you have a son or grandson under the age of 12, getting pockets from pants is so easy. They put stains and holes in their jeans and cargo pants all the time and all you have to do is cut the pockets off and then use the rest of the pants to make a dog rope toy. I also had a pair of pants that had bungee type cord that was used to tighten the bottom. I took that out and then put holes in the one pocket to attach the bungee strap. I then glued the two pockets together using liquid stitch. This helped keep the bungee cord secure between the two pockets. If you are good at sewing, you could sew everything together. I can put treats in one pocket and doggie doo bags in the other. It fits around my wrist and can even be put up on my forearm and tightened, if needed.
cargo pants, pockets cut from these
bungee string
bungee string being taken from
another pair of pants

bungee put through two holes in one pocket
and tied in the back and then covered
with the other pocket

finished treat holder
dog treats inside holder and then placed on wrist